It was just a mere dream for displaced Rohingya children to get educational facilities in refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, reports BSS.
When the traumatised children fled their homes in Rakhine state after they faced barbaric crackdown by Myanmar military forces in August, 2017, they had looked for a safe shelter only to survive. Education was beyond their thoughts as thousands of Rohingya people, including women and children were killed in the crackdown and about 7 lakh of them were forced to leave their homes and take shelter in Bangladesh.
But, the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR paved a way for the traumatised Rohingya children to provide educational facilities in a pleasant manner and help them to cope with their shocks.
On October 3, BRAC with support of UNHCR officially launched a two-storied Temporary Learning Centre at Kutupalong camp aiming to create more space and educational opportunities for Rohingya children.
The eye-catching building, painted bright red and yellow, is able to house up to 240 students in two classrooms in three shifts every day – double the number of students who could normally attend a Temporary Learning Centre within the physical space. Two associate professors at BRAC University’s Architecture Department designed the learning centre using local materials and technology.
UNHCR officials said across all the Rohingya settlements in Cox’s Bazar, there are 540,000 children of school age, but only 160,552 have spaces to learn in temporary education centres, leaving a gap of 47 percent of youngsters aged 3-14 years and more than 97 percent of 15-24 year-old children who don’t have any access to education and educational facilities.Dr Safiqul Islam, director of BRAC’s education programme, said the two-storied design combats the space crisis in the camps and the culturally-sensitive design allows the children for a more learning enabling environment to ensure higher quality education.
“It is environment-friendly, and its construction and operation will not cause any further damage to the environment. It is also designed for purpose, and can be modified and relocated at any time,” he said.
“This is a creative and innovative way to tackle one major problem we face in the camps – inadequate physical space to guarantee access to educational opportunities for youngsters” UNHCR’s education officer James Onyango said.The pilot project brings to 39 the number of temporary learning centres that UNHCR has established with BRAC in 20 different locations in Camp 4 and 17 in Cox’s Bazar since May 2018. The bamboo-made school building is the first two-storey learning centre at the refugee camps. At this learning centre, BRAC officials say, children will initially be taught the basics and later they will be promoted to first, second, or third grade depending on their learning aptitude.
The school will be operated in three shifts (from 9 am to 2 pm), on six days a week. The children are being taught both in Burmese and English. Addressing the opening programme at Kutupalong camp, Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner Mohammad Abul Kalam said they have plans to build more schools, with a focus on sustainability and quality.
“We are making a serious effort to send you peacefully to your homeland.”
Nesar Ahmed, a joint secretary of the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education, said teachers from government schools in Cox’s Bazar will extend their support to learning centres providing education to the Rohingya children.
“We will ensure that no children are left without proper education— regardless of their nationality or birthplace,” he said.
A new UNICEF report released on August 23 last said more than half a million Rohingya children in southern Bangladesh are being denied the chance of a proper
education, and international
efforts are urgently needed to prevent them falling prey to despair and frustration.
In a report marking one year since the start of a huge influx of Rohingya fleeing extreme violence in Myanmar into Bangladesh, UNICEF warned children living in the cramped and rudimentary refugee camps of Cox’s Bazar face a bleak future, with few opportunities to learn, and no idea when they might return home.